Mercyhurst College and Plastikos Inc. have been hailed for leading the way in Green business practices by the Young Erie Professionals (yep!), which bestowed its inaugural Green Business Award on both organizations during the Generation E Leadership Awards on Friday, April 24, at the Bayfront Convention Center. The Generation E Leadership Committee selected Mercyhurst and Plastikos based on two overriding criteria: the Green initiatives they have implemented at their facilities, and the impact of their environmental stewardship on the Erie community.
In addition to reviewing nominations, Generation E committee members Matt McKinney and Scott Nick also personally interviewed the finalists and toured their respective facilities.
“After touring each of the finalist’s facilities and discussing their Green initiatives in greater detail, two things were clear: first, both have made significant efforts in terms of investment, contribution and awareness; and secondly, each was profoundly passionate and proud of their environmental initiatives,” McKinney said. “After further discussion, Scott and I recommended that honoring both was the correct thing to do. Mercyhurst and Plastikos represent a standard for nonprofit and for-profit business on a local and national level, while leading the way in Green business practices in their respective industries.”
Mercyhurst was recognized for having cultivated a “green consciousness” that has grown in viral dimensions across its campus and beyond. The college has emerged as a national leader in sustainability on a number of fronts, including renewable energy investment, waste reduction, landscaping and curriculum development.
Among recent noteworthy achievements: A 12th place national finish in Recyclemania, a competition among U.S. colleges and universities. With a cumulative recycling rate just under 52 percent, Mercyhurst was also the top finisher among Pennsylvania colleges; a Renewable Energy Fund, which students voted to finance by taxing themselves $5 a term, to provide for campus projects such as the recent installation of a solar-powered blue-light security system; the purchase of 30 percent of its electricity needs from wind energy, making Mercyhurst a national leader among institutions of higher education; and construction of four buildings on the Erie campus that generate cooling and heating with geothermal energy, producing a substantial reduction in CO2 emissions.
Mercyhurst also works with the community to advance regional environmental responsibility, from sponsoring programs like “Green Jobs for Northwest Pennsylvania” to purchasing more organic and locally grown products. In a related development, the college just announced that it will implement a sustainable organic garden on a small parcel of its 400-acre Girard campus this spring, with the harvest to be utilized in the college’s food service program.
Dr. Chris Magoc, chair of the Mercyhurst Green Team, who accepted the Green Business Award on behalf of the college, said, “We are deeply honored by this recognition. It is a testament to the Sisters of Mercy, who instilled the core value of global responsibility at this institution, along with the vision and leadership of President Thomas Gamble. Executive Vice President Tom Billingsley, Ken Stepherson, our physical plant director, and our faculty have also demonstrated their commitment to advancing the principles of sustainability. Finally, this award belongs to our students whose efforts to realize a greener and more secure future have inspired us all.”